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  1. #1
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Well, itís back to the 70ís for me. (JBL L-26 Decade)

    Iíve been lusting for some fitting bookshelves to mate with my Marantz 2270 in the man-cave for a while now. The Wharfedale 40ís canít take the juice and the L-55s are too big. Both are temporarily retired for the time being, plus one of the 55s needs a new surround. Iíve been using a pair of Sound Dynamics RTS-3s. Now, these are quite nice and do a remarkable job on all types of music. They provide a well-balanced, polite, accurate rendition and, as Martha Stewart would say ďThatís a good thing.Ē

    Being a child of the 60ís, and remembering what those days were like, something primal was missing on rock music. And, I simply wanted something that ďfitĒ the Marantz. Maybe itís middle age crazy, mid life crisis or simply ďwantingĒ something I couldnít have back then, or whatever. I didnít care. I just wanted something. I didnít know exactly what, but I wanted it.

    I kept this idea on the back burner for some time now and I found a pair of JBL L-26 Decades for sale. I remembered these from when they first came out and was quite impressed but at that time, finances were dedicated to more basic needs, like food, rent, car, etcÖ Now, thirty some odd years later I find these for sale and at a doable price. Eureka! These were just what Iíve been (inactively) searching for.

    So, I pay my money and anxiously wait for these things to show up at the door. When they finally arrived I was like a little kid at Christmas. I tore open those boxes open as quickly as I could. They were packed in what wound up filling 7 large garbage bags of peanuts and another of bubble wrap. When the wife came home I was knee-deep in peanuts.

    When I finally hook Ďem up the difference in sound is striking. I was tuned to a classical station (my tastes have expanded in the passing of time) and I was initially disappointed. They had that west coast mid range peak that didnít sound ďrightĒ. I was wondering if I hadnít been too lost in recreating the past to keep a realistic mind about these things. I flipped the FM dial and was getting used to the sound. Still, initially, I was not overly impressed.

    But, when I dropped in SRVís Texas Flood, it all came to life. Now THIS is what these were made for. After a few days I acclimated myself to their sound on other types of music I listen to and I no longer find them objectionable. Actually, I find I prefer this type of sound in the man-cave.

    So, I guess you CAN go home again.
    Last edited by markw; 03-04-2006 at 09:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    So, I guess you CAN go home again.
    Congratulations on your trip back in time system! I took a similar journey a couple of years back. Mine started out as a collection of hand-me-down components from the main system and aren't all vintage. But what the hey?

    My first "real" speakers were Advents, so my vintage system uses a double pair. They are New Advents (visually similar, slightly improved '77 flavor of the original) driven by an '81 Threshold amp using a 70s Pioneer tuner or '93 Pioneer CDP as sources. I rewired them and replaced the aging crossover caps. Recently, I added a used Manley DAC to the mix and recommissioned an old friend - my '75 Ariston RD-11s turntable. Armless for years, I found an SME 3009 Type II on E-Bay like I first used along with a Shure M97 cartridge and one of those bright red Bellari phono preamps.

    I've got a lot of old vinyl that previously I didn't play very much in the main system. Since I spend a fair amount of time in the garage (especially with the weather getting better), now I hear a lot more of that old stuff.

    rw

  3. #3
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    I have 2 sets of JBL speakers, the L-96 and L-112. I use them primarily when I feel like cranking some blues or rock. For that I really enjoy them.

    cubdog

  4. #4
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    My Marantz 2270 and Altec Lansing 846U's (unfinished version of the Valencia, Voice of the Theater components and a cousin to the JBL line) at 105lbs each with a sensitivity rating of about 99dB were wondeful with rock and roll, blues, jazz and vocals (that wondeful horn midrange/high freq.).

    I helped my former girlfriend buy a pair of L-26's. Those were great days. Maybe the JBL's and Altec's weren't as flat as my AR LST's or Rectilinear's but they could sure shake the neighborhood.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  5. #5
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    relate

    I can certainly relate to everything you have written...

    I myself am more into vintage type "stuff" when it comes to "hifi", most notably speakers. I have some AR-3A's in the shed in rebuild status, a pair of AR-11's driven by a Yamaha M80 power amp hooked up to my computer,

    In the garage I have a set of circa 1965 Electrovoice model 6...in the process the replacing the xover caps that I will be installing in the exercise room. To be driven hopefully by a Fisher 800C tube receiver. In the living room in have a pair of Altec 604E duplexes in cabinets I made (had to keep them smaller because of the wife) and a Klipsch sub. They are bi-amped via a Onkyo P-304 preamp and Hafler XL-280 power amps.

    At the pool house I use a Rotel RX-602 receiver driving Altec indoor-outdoor speakers..

    Loose stuff includes a EV 30W woofer...found it at a garage sale..T35 tweets, T10A mid... Some EV crossovers, EV sp12, two sets of guts from a EV-4 speaker set...just a bunch of stuff. Someday I may do something with the stuff...dunno.

    My wife thinks I'm nuts. I probably am. But when all is said and done, when I listen to Uncle John's Band thru those Altec duplexes in the living room...Jerry is in that room. I know he is because with sound like that, he simply has to be.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! I think this just goes to show that certain types of music are just tailor made for specific types of vintage speakers. The vintage JBLs are a perfect example. Audiophiles have been whining about the vintage JBL sound for as long as I can remember, but if you look at the type of music that a lot of them prefer to play, it's a no brainer that they would not like JBLs -- it's not their music, so of course it's not their speaker. The JBLs are better suited to the crowd that subscribes to that oft mentioned universal truth that KISS used to make reference to: If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old

    I grew up with a Marantz 2275/JBL L65 combination. The colorations on those speakers were very obvious (my preferences would eventually evolve more towards the New England sound over the West Coast sound that JBL exemplified), but guess what, a lot of the music I grew up with was mixed with those tonal characteristics in mind (if not actually mixed on a set of JBL 43XX studio monitors), so in actuality with much of the rock, pop, and electric jazz from the 1970s, the vintage JBL sound was in reality the optimal and neutral playback medium for those types of recordings. If someone's music preferences touch upon that particular subset of recordings, then I can easily see why they would seek out those types of speakers. That explains why the prices that restored JBLs fetch can often be higher than when they were brand new.
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    First welcome to AR. I've been on a vintage tear for awhile. A few months ago we
    went to a party, and this guy had a pair of L65's (jubal) cranking some classic rock
    Kansas, journey, VH, and I mean CRANKING, and I was blown away, buy the sheer
    room filling power of those 30 something year old drivers. I mean what construction,
    durability, and that midrange, man I was hooked. So I went on a mission to re-live
    my youth and grab some vintage jbl's as fast as possible. My wife saw the relentless
    fix I was in and jumped onboard, and it was off to Ebay, L19's were had quickly
    the little brother to your L26's, but not little in sound, that woofer is still one of the
    best, even by todays standards, and that tweeter really sings to me. After that
    it was some 4310's, the real begining of the famous monitors. I took them in to
    have the crossovers upgraded, and the owner jumped me to sell'em, and offered
    $1200 on the spot. I took the cash and bought the monitors I really wanted,
    4311B's, which are and will remain my main speakers untill hell freezes over. They
    blend very well with L19's, and they just get better the more power you put to
    them. There's some L100's on Ebay right now for $100, which is sick. L100's
    are the consumer version of the 4311, same drivers, different cabinet(slightly).
    I'm gonna jump over there right now and get a closer look. Can you imagne
    4 of those things as your surround system, god I am sick. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The colorations on those speakers were very obvious (my preferences would eventually evolve more towards the New England sound over the West Coast sound that JBL exemplified), but guess what, a lot of the music I grew up with was mixed with those tonal characteristics in mind (if not actually mixed on a set of JBL 43XX studio monitors), so in actuality with much of the rock, pop, and electric jazz from the 1970s, the vintage JBL sound was in reality the optimal and neutral playback medium...
    JBL also made the less popular L-110 / 4313B series which was a neutral reproducer.

    rw

  9. #9
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    As always Wooch, is right on the money.


    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Welcome to the board! I think this just goes to show that certain types of music are just tailor made for specific types of vintage speakers. The vintage JBLs are a perfect example. Audiophiles have been whining about the vintage JBL sound for as long as I can remember, but if you look at the type of music that a lot of them prefer to play, it's a no brainer that they would not like JBLs -- it's not their music, so of course it's not their speaker. The JBLs are better suited to the crowd that subscribes to that oft mentioned universal truth that KISS used to make reference to: If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old

    I grew up with a Marantz 2275/JBL L65 combination. The colorations on those speakers were very obvious (my preferences would eventually evolve more towards the New England sound over the West Coast sound that JBL exemplified), but guess what, a lot of the music I grew up with was mixed with those tonal characteristics in mind (if not actually mixed on a set of JBL 43XX studio monitors), so in actuality with much of the rock, pop, and electric jazz from the 1970s, the vintage JBL sound was in reality the optimal and neutral playback medium for those types of recordings. If someone's music preferences touch upon that particular subset of recordings, then I can easily see why they would seek out those types of speakers. That explains why the prices that restored JBLs fetch can often be higher than when they were brand new.

  10. #10
    Aging Smartass
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    JBL also made the less popular L-110 / 4313B series which was a neutral reproducer.

    rw
    There was good reason the L-110's were less popular: they were flat out awful. I was a JBL sales rep at the time of their introduction, and tried (in vain) to convince my dealers (all of whom hated the L-110) that it was a more "accurate" reproducer than the L-100, which most salespeople mistakenly believed the L-110 to be a replacement for. Accurate or not, they were a sales dud, and when my partner (who loved the L-110) gave me a pair to audition in my home (I had just then purchased my Dahlquist DQ-10's, which, despite purchasing other, more costly speakers since, I still use today). I connected the L-110's while I had several friends over for dinner, all of whom were in the audio industry. The opinions of the group were unanimous: all of us hated the L-110. And I made a living selling these things too! Good thing I switched jobs shortly therafter.

    That JBL speakers at the time (late 70's) were the number 1 choice as monitors for most rock concerts, was something that carried over to the consumer line prior to the L-110, and indeed, was a factor in the sound of the L-26.

  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    Accurate or not, they were a sales dud...
    I never heard them myself. There is a rather level headed engineer over at AA who has a pair and tweaked them to sound similar to Advents. I would think that would be a good thing as I never took a liking to the BOOM-GLARE personality of the L100s.

    rw

  12. #12
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    I never much cared for the L-100 either, but it was a hugely successful, and popular speaker. The L-110 was totally different, and costlier, with a blah, totally lackluster sound that made speakers like the AR-2ax sound bright and lively. It also seemed to have an excessive amount of midrange coloration, at least to my ears. The components were, as usual, all first-rate, built by JBL, and utilizing cast aluminum baskets and all the other hallmarks of JBL drivers. I suspect the problem with the sound was due to the crossover. And the dislike of the L-110 by dealers wasn't unique to my area of responsibility (New England) but nationwide, as I witnessed first-hand in my travels as a national sales manager.

  13. #13
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    The components were, as usual, all first-rate, built by JBL, and utilizing cast aluminum baskets and all the other hallmarks of JBL drivers. I suspect the problem with the sound was due to the crossover.
    I think that is the first thing the engineer from Ohio changed. Similarly, I have updated the components and wiring on the double New Advents in my vintage system to much improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    And the dislike of the L-110 by dealers wasn't unique to my area of responsibility (New England) but nationwide, as I witnessed first-hand in my travels as a national sales manager.
    I can understand why JBL's constituents might not be happy with such a change given the popularity of the L100/4311 family.

    rw

  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Way back in 1971 ...

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I never heard them myself. There is a rather level headed engineer over at AA who has a pair and tweaked them to sound similar to Advents. I would think that would be a good thing as I never took a liking to the BOOM-GLARE personality of the L100s.

    rw
    I briefly fell in love with JBL Lancer 77's. As I recall, Cdn$700 at the time -- a huge wad of cash back them (to me anyway; maybe $3500 in today's money), though less than the Century L100's. I was seriously thinking of a bank loan but decide to do a comparison first. My comparision was with the AR 3a's.

    Good thing I did that. The AR's were far more neutral and resolved sound. I remarked on that to the saleman; he agreed, confiding, "Yeah, I think JBL stands for 'jeezes bloody lousy'".
    After that I never had any interest in JBL.

  15. #15
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    hello,
    i am new at this so please bear with me. i am not new to audio/video as it has been my hobby for around 35 years. speaking of vintage stuff, i am using electrovoice sentry 3's for the front left/right and altec lansing model 19's for the rear left and right. ireplaced the 15 inch woofers on the altec,s with 18 inchers and readjusted the potentiometers between horn and woofer. on the electrovoice i replaced the woofers with longer throw and lower herts and i am using the equalizer that was an option for these speakers to go lower. making a long story short, my audio video room is aproximately 40 feet long and 15 feet wide. i also am using the klipsch model 6 for the front and rear centers. my listening room can go over 116 db's without the need for a subwoofer. i had 2 carver subwoofers but wound up giving them away as they had a tendancy to muddle the bass. i like loud good clean bass with alot of authirity and i definetly get it with this system. i have a full wall of electronics which include turntable and beta hi fi decks along with sacd and dvd audio ect.i will end this message now but would appreciate anynsuggestions or comments
    www.rustyeggers@yahoo.com
    thank you for your time

  16. #16
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEON C EGGERS
    hello,
    i am new at this so please bear with me. i am not new to audio/video as it has been my hobby for around 35 years. speaking of vintage stuff, i am using electrovoice sentry 3's for the front left/right and altec lansing model 19's for the rear left and right. ireplaced the 15 inch woofers on the altec,s with 18 inchers and readjusted the potentiometers between horn and woofer. on the electrovoice i replaced the woofers with longer throw and lower herts and i am using the equalizer that was an option for these speakers to go lower. making a long story short, my audio video room is aproximately 40 feet long and 15 feet wide. i also am using the klipsch model 6 for the front and rear centers. my listening room can go over 116 db's without the need for a subwoofer. i had 2 carver subwoofers but wound up giving them away as they had a tendancy to muddle the bass. i like loud good clean bass with alot of authirity and i definetly get it with this system. i have a full wall of electronics which include turntable and beta hi fi decks along with sacd and dvd audio ect.i will end this message now but would appreciate anynsuggestions or comments
    www.rustyeggers@yahoo.com
    thank you for your time
    Welcome to AR, I like vintage stuff to, I've heard new speakers, but will NEVER
    pull the plug on my HPM 100's, or JBL'S. 116db's huh, bet your neighbors are
    real pals...mine know me veeery well. Your speaker choices are a nice mix. Model
    19's rock big time. I was at a vintage show in LA, and saw and heard both the model
    19's, and some electrovoice's, all kinds of cool gear. Lots of JBL, Yamaha NS monitors,
    Pioneer, you name it. Take it easy, and again..Welcome.
    Sunfire TGP-5 Pre/Pro
    Carver A760-x
    Carver TFM25
    Carver TFM15 x 2
    Sunfire Signature "True Sub"
    JBL Studio L890(Front)
    JBL Studio L830(Rear)
    Infinity PC350(Center)
    Oppo Digital 983H
    Panasonic Viera TH-46PZ85U
    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
    Power Protection/Filters-Monster HTS 5100 MKII
    Canare Interconnects

  17. #17
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    Vintage Epicure speakers

    Since you are all so well-versed in vintage gear, can anyone suggest what would be a good ad-hoc forum in order to advertise a pair of Epicure 202 (1970's model) speakers for sale? It would be nice if I could sell these to someone who's actually into hi-fi from that era.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    audiokarma.com. THE vintage site for all us 70's/80's freaks. I've seen those on ebay
    a few times. Checkout the vintage electronics page. Later
    Sunfire TGP-5 Pre/Pro
    Carver A760-x
    Carver TFM25
    Carver TFM15 x 2
    Sunfire Signature "True Sub"
    JBL Studio L890(Front)
    JBL Studio L830(Rear)
    Infinity PC350(Center)
    Oppo Digital 983H
    Panasonic Viera TH-46PZ85U
    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
    Power Protection/Filters-Monster HTS 5100 MKII
    Canare Interconnects

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